Things Estate Agents Should Consider When Conducting Maintenance On A Rental Property
When you’re managing a number of properties for clients, it’s important to remember that you have a duty of care for the tenants living in their properties. Whether those tenants have moved in or are planning to move in soon, you have an obligation as the estate agent to ensure that the property is safe and fit for human habitation. There are many tasks that you may have to do to meet these standards and many things to consider during this process. To help you, we’ve put together a list of things you’ll need to consider when conducting maintenance on these rental properties.
Identify Long-Term Maintenance Work
First of all, you’re going to have to keep an eye on any potential ongoing maintenance work that you’ll be able to take care of. There are so many things that can go wrong inside a property, and unfortunately, seeing as you aren’t the ones living there, identifying these problems early on isn’t overly easy. Tenants can often overlook maintenance issues, either due to a lack of understanding or simply a lack of care due to not being the owners of the property. But while there should be room for fair wear and tear in a property, this is why you should strive to engage with your tenants to encourage them to report any problems. It’s also worthwhile for you to make occasional visits to check for any glaring problems yourself.
Create A Schedule And Plan
When you’re looking after a number of different properties, it can be easy to let certain tasks fall by the wayside. Emergencies will naturally take precedence, but this can significantly overshadow other minor problems, allowing them to develop into larger issues if they don’t get dealt with as soon as possible. It’s highly recommended that you create some form of schedule and plan to check on your properties and discuss any issues with tenants to help reduce the risk of you forgetting about certain tasks. This will help to provide you with a reminder about checking in at these properties regularly to ensure that all issues are dealt with promptly. If things are left too late, they can become more problematic and ultimately more costly.
Use A Tradesperson
If you’re dealing with complex issues such as a problem with the water supply or electrical systems inside a property, then the chances are they aren’t issues you can deal with yourself. Don’t go attempting electrical work if you don’t understand what you’re doing. Instead, contact a tradesperson to deal with the problem for you. This will minimise the risk of physical injury as well as damage to the property. If you’re renovating a property to get it ready for tenants, then you may need to replace old and outdated fittings like the consumer unit to ensure that it complies with safety standards. This usually means that the consumer unit will need an RCD so that the power shuts off if there’s a fault. A residual current device switches off electricity after a fault is detected, helping protect an individual from electrocution. You can browse the Hager consumer unit range at Sparks Direct and find a unit suitable for that property. Your electrician will then be able to install it correctly and test your electrical systems to ensure that things are as safe as possible.
Be Prepared For Emergency Maintenance
As mentioned above, emergency maintenance is common and requires hasty interference to avoid major issues. There are many different types of emergencies that could occur in a property like this, ranging from broken white goods to leaking pipes. A broken refrigerator, for example, isn’t necessarily an immediate safety hazard, but it impacts your tenants by ruining their food. It is your responsibility to replace this or get it fixed, and you should treat it as an emergency so that your tenants can have refrigerator access as soon as possible. Another immediate problem that can be categorised as an emergency is a leak. While leaks aren’t uncommon and can result in dampness in walls or wet patches on the carpets, a major leak can quickly ruin a property. If this happens, it’s essential that you deal with the leak as soon as possible, and it’s best to hire an emergency plumber for this task, even if you can identify the source of the leak.
Understand Everyone’s Responsibilities
Not every maintenance task is your responsibility, however. In fact, there are many things that tenants are responsible for, and most notably, this includes any damage that they themselves cause.
Of course, certain things that aren’t your responsibility may be fixed faster if you deal with them, and while this might be frustrating, if it prevents further damage, you might as well help. Just remember that this is what a deposit is for, and you’ll be able to use that deposit to cover the costs. It’s important to identify the responsibilities of tenants as well as those of the estate agents and the landlord and to make this clear to everyone. Keep clear lines of communication with your tenants, too, so that they will still inform you of any problems, regardless of whose responsibility it is.
That way, you can ensure that the task is sorted and the property isn’t at risk of further issues.